Thursday, 26 January 2023

Dazzling Tippett from Steven Osborne and the London Philharmonic

Edward Gardner (conductor)

7.30pm, Wednesday 25 January 2023

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912): Solemn Prelude, Op. 40

Michael Tippett (1905-1998): Piano Concerto

Keith Jarrett (b.1945)/Steven Osborne (b.1971): Vienna Concert, opening (improvisation)

Edward Elgar (1857-1934): Symphony No. 1 in A flat major, Op. 55

'The LPO and Edward Gardner gave a lusciously rich performance, the orchestra's impressive string sound in particular setting out their stall well for the Elgar later in the evening'.

'Steven Osborne was on dazzling form technically, but also expertly managed the complicated interplay with the orchestra'.

'Gardner kept a tight rein on proceedings too, controlling the dynamics of the richly textured, often spikily polyphonic orchestration'. 

'Gardner took the scurrying second movement at a pace, and the LPO responded with energy and precision'.

'Gardner allowed the detail to emerge, holding onto the building tension, giving the final return of the noble theme added power, bringing a fine performance to a triumphant conclusion'. 

Read my full review on Bachtrack here.

Sunday, 22 January 2023

Energetic Glass at the heart of adventurous programming from MacGregor and the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra

Joanna MacGregor (piano/director)
Sian Edwards (conductor)
Kathy Hinde (visual projections)
Matthew Fairclough (sound design)

Nicky Sweeney (leader)

7.30pm, Saturday 21 January, 2023

Rolf Wallin (b.1957): Twine

John Luther Adams (b.1953): songbird songs

Philip Glass (b.1937): Glassworks

John Luther Adams: Drums of Winter

Jonny Greenwood (b.1971): Suite from 'There Will Be Blood'

Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928-2016): Cantus Arcticus: Concerto for Birds and Orchestra, Op. 61

Joanna MacGregor
Credit: Pal Hanson
It was great to see the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra filling the Brighton Dome on a Saturday night, a welcome compliment to their traditional Sunday afternoon slot. Philip Glass’s (b.1937) seminal work Glassworks clearly attracted a broader demographic of audience, and Joanna MacGregor’s clever programming of this ensemble piece alongside some exciting solo percussion pieces, as well as works for the fuller orchestra, amply demonstrated that there is appetite for more adventurous orchestral concerts going beyond the standard repertoire. Taking up the position of Music Director just prior to the pandemic, it is good to see her plans for the orchestra taking shape this season. (More on their full season here). 

Their concert began with a work by Norwegian composer Rolf Wallin (b.1957), Twine, for marimba and xylophone. Performed with enthusiastic showmanship by two members of Ensemble Bash (who contributed three quarters of tonight's percussion section), the piece contrasts the softer, warmer tones of the marimba with the harsher, metallic timbre of the xylophone. Starting from pulsing on repeated notes, the instruments gradually expand out to explore the extremes of their ranges, and flashing glissandi add fireworks to the climax.

Two works by American composer John Luther Adams (b.1953) also showcased percussion, but the first piece, songbird songs also saw the percussionists joined by the BPO’s flautists, Christine Messiter and Christine Hankin, here on piccolos and ocarinas. Across four short vignettes, Adams ranges from delicate morning birdsong evocation through to the mournful calls of doves (with Messiter and Hankin roaming the stage with their intermittent ocarina calls), and culminating in wild, joyful explosions of noise from marimba, bass drum, timpani and temple blocks. The second work by Adams, which launched the concert’s second half, was Drums of Winter, for all four percussionists. A movement form this cycle, Earth and the Great Weather, this is a visceral piece, exploiting the power of four drummers, sometimes with complex cross rhythms, but with tremendous energy when combined in unison rhythms, providing a great curtain raiser for the second half.

Sian Edwards
Glassworks was the highlight of the evening’s programme, however. Written and recorded by Glass’ own ensemble in 1981, it brought minimalism to a wider audience, and was an instant success, remaining hugely popular to this day. It is scored for two flutes, four saxophones, two horns, violas, cellos and piano/keyboard. The trick here is to avoid the rapid yet constantly shifting repeated figures sounding like a feat of hard work and concentration - which of course it is. This was mostly achieved here, with conductor Sian Edwards giving clear direction and keeping the tempo tight and on track. Only occasionally did ensemble stray slightly with the sudden changes of figuration. From Joanna MacGragor’s hypnotic Opening on the piano through to the surging insistence of Floe, the players here kept the drive and energy going, and the mournful soprano saxophones of Façades were particularly hypnotic. The amplification did highlight the odd moment of imprecise tuning in the strings, and a tentative entry from the horns, but otherwise, this was a strong performance of a challenging work.

Jonny Greenwood (b.1971), known to many as the lead guitarist from Radiohead, composed the soundtrack from the 2007 epic film, There Will Be Blood, starring Daniel Day Lewis. The film explores the destructive power of capitalism through the story of a silver miner who becomes a ruthless oilman, destroying those around him in his pursuit of wealth. Greenwood produced a six movement suite from the score for string orchestra, with imaginative use of the swooping glissandi, glassy scrapings and a lively pizzicato movement, as well as some more conventionally atmospheric string writing. The BPO players performed with precision and enthusiasm, particularly excelling in the pizzicato movement, and Sian Edwards shaped the dynamics with clear direction throughout.

The evening ended with the full orchestra performing Einojuhani Rautavaara’s (1928-2016) wonderfully evocative Cantus Articus: Concerto for Birds and Orchestra, Op. 61. Finnish composer Rautavaara studied at the Sibelius Academy, before Sibelius himself recommended him for a scholarship at the Juliard School in New York, where he was taught by Aaron Copland amongst others. In this work, he combines his own field recordings of Lapland birdsong with his richly romantic orchestral scoring. The melancholic calls of the shore lark accompany the middle movement, with lively spring birds in the opening and soaring whooper swans in the final movement. Rautavaara's atmospheric writing was expertly sculpted by Edwards in conjunction with the recorded birdsong, and the BPO players were sensitively responsive throughout.

The evening’s performances were accompanied throughout by beautiful visual projections by Kathy Hinde, using a variety of effective film drawing on nature and bird life. Rushing water accompanied the more frenzied passages of the Glass, and stunning footage of starling murmurations and dancing cranes complemented the Rautavaara, and various birdlife and mountain landscapes provided a backdrop for the Adams. The films provided an overall cohesion to the varied programme, and avoided the risk of distracting from the impact of the music itself.

Hats off to Joanna MacGregor, Sian Edwards and the BPO for highly stimulating performances, and long may their adventurous and imaginative programming continue to provide a welcome breath of fresh air to the Brighton classical music scene.

Friday, 13 January 2023

It's Simply Showtime! - New release from tenor Ian Farrell

Never one to let the grass grow under his feet, Brighton-based tenor Ian Farrell is back with another album, this time focussing on the world of musical theatre. It's Simply Showtime features ten tracks, some well-known and a few lesser-known gems, with a common strand of hope and the search for self-belief running through the collection. 

It was back in 2020 just before things went crazy that Ian released Ten for Ten, celebrating 10 years of being sober. A global pandemic didn't stop him, with il Significato di te showcasing classical repertoire following in 2021. This new album is his most accomplished to date, demonstrating the strength and range of his voice in the musical theatre repertoire, showing strong technical command in some tricky songs here. But it also feels the most intimate album to date - despite some big numbers, Ian's approach is definitely to draw us into the world of the songs, rather than bombard us with glitzy showtime alone, despite the album's title. So for example, Somewhere (from West Side Story) is not belted out as it often is, and this is a more contemplative reading, building gradually to the final climax, with stronger understanding of the song's shape. Ian also talked to me about the broader meaning of the song, and that it can be interpreted as being about anybody who is struggling to find their place in the world, particularly relevant for all of us in the LGBTQ+ world today. This is echoed in the dark longing of She's a Woman from Kiss of the Spider Woman, the longing quest for love in Ian's voice in Where is Love (from Oliver), and more searching for a place in life in the deceptively perky Corner of the Sky (from Pippin), with a spectacular closing high note from Ian. 


Bring Him Home from Les Misérables opens the disc, and Ian's reading of this classic has incredible tenderness, with some beautifully floated high registers, especially on the final extended note. Again, this can often be delivered as a straightforward belter, but it is all the more effective when controlled like this. Again, it is with touching tenderness that he takes us on the journey of the classic Send in the Clowns, full of introspection and reflection on disappointments of the past.

Ian draws on Billy Porter's wonderful rendition of On The Steet Where You Live (from My Fair Lady) for insipiration, yet he gives the familiar lines his own individuality and control, as well as a glorious melismatic climax. Tomorrow (from Annie) is generally not one of my favourite songs, often too saccharine and rather trite, but here Ian gives it a slow, introspective 'lounge' feel, which works very well, giving the song more nuance.

But the two numbers that stand out for me are Let me Fall, from Cirque du Soleil's show, Quidam, subsequently covered by Josh Groban, and the track that ends the album, You Will Be Found, from the musical Dear Evan Hansen. The former is all about taking risks and being allowed to fall, and taking chances - clearly carrying a double-meaning for Cirque du Soleil's highwire acts, but also life in general, and something that clearly has echoes for Ian. And it is in this song I hear his fullest expression, with power at the top of his range, and defiant strength throughout. That same depth of emotion is expressed in You Will Be Found, with its message of hope, again following on from that sense of searching expressed in Somewhere


It should also be mentioned that Ian is accompanied throughout by Joss Peach, with some great piano and instrumental arrangements perfectly echoing Ian's intimate approach.


The album is available to download for free from his website (although financial contributions are welcome), on Spotify, and CDs are available on request. Ian's plans for 2023 include getting out there and performing live, hopefully appearing soon in Brighton and London - so watch this space for dates, and check out his social media links for more info.

(Instagram/TikTok/ twitter/YouTube) 

Wednesday, 28 December 2022

CD Reviews - January 2023

The first volume of pianist Orion Weiss’ series focussed on piano works leading up to the First World War, and with the second volume, Arc II we are into times of war and grief, with works by Ravel, Brahms and Shostakovich. Ravel’s (1875-1937) Le Tombeau de Couperin was composed between 1914 and 1917, and each movement of the suite is dedicated to friends who died in the war. The idea of the ‘tombeau’ is a 17th century term for a memorial piece, and Ravel is also paying homage to Couperin in its imitation of a baroque suite. The opening Prélude has a watery flow, yet Weiss’s articulation is always crystal clear, and this is a feature of his playing throughout, never allowing the impressionistic soundscapes to obscure the detail. The angular, meandering Fugue becomes more insistent as it progresses, and the Forlane has a swaying, almost jazzy energy. The quirky energy of the Rigaudon’s opening is contrasted well with its darker central section, and the Menuet moves from a gentle feeling of longing to a huge climax, and then a delicate ending. The rapid repeated notes of the Toccata never feel hammered, and Weiss has incredible lightness here, despite the waves of building turbulence. Brahms’ (1833-1897) Variations on a Theme by R. Schumann, Op. 9 take us back to 1854, and again a memorial to a friend, although he was still alive at this point, but following his attempted suicide, he had entered the sanatorium where he would subsequently die. The piece is in fact dedicated to Robert’s wife Clara, and as well as the theme (from Robert’s Bunte Blätter, Op. 99), he quotes from other compositions by both Robert and Clara, and it is a deep expression of grief for the loss of the relationships he had developed with the couple. Across the 16 variations, there is a wide range of styles and emotions, but there is an ever present longing and lyricism, to which Weiss is constantly alert. Yet he also brings out Brahms’ jerky rhythms, Mendelssohnian fairy lightness and weightier complex textures. The final variation’s tolling bass line with hints of the melodic motifs on top has a particular disintegrating poignance which Weiss captures perfectly. Shostakovich’s (1906-1975) Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 61 moves us forward to 1943, and it is dedicated to his friend and teacher, Leonid Nikolayev, who died in the mass evacuation from Leningrad. Its opening movement starts deceptively easygoing, with a simple melodic line emerging from dancing rapids, but it quickly develops into a kind of nightmarish world, with an eerily distant march and then a steady build in ferocity. Weiss brings out the sense of unease in the moments of seeming calm, as well giving full power to the violent climaxes. The strange, jazzy half waltz of the middle movement is full of questioning sadness and an ominous throb on the first two beats of the bar, and Weiss leaves the final pianissimo line hanging in the air. The finale, with its long angular theme is pure Shostakovich, with its Bachian invention and increasing complexity, with repeated notes and spiky dotted rhythms. After such exhausting tension, Weiss finishes with two of Brahms’ Chorale Preludes for organ, in Busoni’s piano arrangements. ‘Herzlich tut mich verlangen’ has a warm, even-toned sadness in its longing, and ‘O Welt, ich muß dich lassen’ sums up the overwhelming sense of grief here, with its moments of more assertive certainty swept away by faltering sadness and a pianissimo conclusion of resignation. This is a powerfully emotive programme, performed with such sensitivity and passion, and I look forward to the final volume that promises times of joy.

Various. 2022. Arc II. Orion Weiss. Compact Disc. First Hand Records FHR128.


The Mariani Klavierquartett return with the second release in their cycle pairing Brahms’ Piano Quartets with those of Friedrich Gernsheim (1839-1916). Gernsheim’s music suffered from a ban in Nazi Germany, and never really recovered, and it still deserves greater exposure than it receives, so this cycle is to be welcomed. In the first pairing, Gernsheim’s quartet stood alongside his friend’s admirably. Here, perhaps Gernsheim suffers a little next to Brahms’ mammoth A major Piano Quartet, Op. 26, weighing in at nearly 50 minutes. The opening movement is full of passion and is of epic proportions, yet the Marianis ensure there is a lightness of touch where needed, and Gerhard Vielhaber on piano never overly dominates the texture, which is also testament to the excellently balanced recording here. The piano is freed a little in the romance of the slow movement, with comments from the strings pulsing around it. Again, the Marianis achieve admirable lightness in the Scherzo, despite Brahms’ weighty approach, and they give the Finale energetic drive, with its stomping second beat rhythms, yet pull back expertly for the lighter moments, and the slowing train is beautifully judged before the final race to the end. Gernsheim’s Piano Quartet, Op. 47 is much lighter in mood, and the Marianis bring out the hints of ballroom swing in the opening movement. There is plenty of invention throughout, and galloping energy in the second movement is contrasted with warm lyricism. The slow movement is warm and lilting. Here Gernsheim ruminates on his melodic material to the point of slightly rambling, but the ending is sublimely touching nevertheless. The finale’s jaunty theme is treated to lots of fugal treatment and running accompaniments in its variations, with the piano in particular getting to show off with racing, cascading scale passages, and hefty chords are combined with more wild scales for the exuberant finish. Another illuminating release, and I look forward to the final volume. 

Various. 2022. Brahms & Gernsheim Piano Quartets. Mariani Klavierquartett. Compact Disc. Audax Records ADX11202.

In the sixth volume of his survey, pianist Barry Douglas tackles the second set of Impromptus, D935 and the Piano Sonata in A minor, D845 by Schubert (1797-1828). The Sonata was the last of three in the same key, and the most substantial of these. Douglas takes a weighty approach here, giving the opening movement the heft of a Chopin Polonaise, emphasising the drama. His tempi throughout tend towards the slow side, and this holds up some of the second movement’s variations, yet there is a spring in his step for the third movement scherzo, and the finale has suitable wildness in places. For the Impromptus, the first has smoothly flowing hand crossing and bell-like tone at the top, but the second is taken at a very slow tempo indeed, which means that the central bubbling triplets lose their urgency, particularly for the plunge into the minor key for its second half, and the return of the opening is in danger of grinding to a halt. The Rosamunde-esque dance of the third has poise and delicacy, but again could benefit from a little more flowing tempo, although the tempo does pick up as the variations’ complexity increases, and by the end there is a delightful flow in the rapid motion of Schubert’s decorative writing. The fourth has incredibly virtuosic running scales, and Douglas takes this at a suitably furious lick, making me wish there had been more of this fire elsewhere. After the exuberance of this comes Liszt’s gloriously rich transcription of Schubert’s Ave Maria to finish, and Douglas gives this great warmth and expression, as well as effortless virtuosity. Overall, a mixed contribution to his otherwise exemplary Schubert survey so far. 

Schubert, F. 2022. Schubert: Works for Solo Piano, Volume 6. Barry Douglas. Compact Disc. Chandos CHAN 20253.

Monday, 28 November 2022

CD Reviews - December 2022

Johannes Pramsohler (violin) and Ensemble Diderot are back with an intriguing collection of so-called ‘Travel Concertos’, centred around the assertion that some of these virtuoso works may have been designed to be taken ‘on tour’ as opportunities to show off their instrumental and compositional talents. They begin with a blistering performance of an earlier version of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, BWV 1050a. There is lively pace in the two outer movements, with sliding chromatic harmonies in the first's harpsichord cadenza, and spiky articulation over joyful double speed harpsichord playing from Philippe Grisvard on harspichord. In between, there is real delicacy and stylish ornamentation from both flute (Alexis Kossenko) and violin. There are also three violin concertos, two from Johann Georg Pisendel (1688-1755) and one from Johann Jakob Kress (1685-1728), allowing Pramsohler to shine as ever here. The Kress is unusual as the solo violin is tuned a semitone higher, giving a brightness to the sound, ringing out from about the other instruments. The Pisendel concertos are full of invention, with triplets adding an edge against the four square rhythm of the opening movement of the Concerto da camera in B flat Major, which also has its beautiful arioso solo line emerge out of the texture and then intertwine with the second violin in the central movement. In the Concerto da camera in F major, Pisendel gives the bright opening a slight side swerve into the minor, and the ornamented solo line increases in virtuosity as the movement progresses. Pramsohler is particularly dazzling in the dancing final movement. There is also a wonderful Concerto by Johann David Heinichen (1683-1729), with solo lines for violin, flute, oboe, theorbo and cello. The ensemble strings are muted, allowing the various solo lines to burst out of the unusual timbre, with dramatic string crossing for the violin and some rattling, deep twanging from the theory's lower registers. Finally, there is a Concerto by Carlo Paolo Durant (1712-1769), for harpsichord, lute, cello and strings, with some great rippling textures from the solo instruments, concluding with delicate bounce from the soloists contrasting with the more bombastic textures of the ensemble in the finale. All in all, some delightful and striking works on offer here, four out of the six being premiere recordings, and all performed with such virtuosic expertise and sensitivity, making this a joy to listen to again and again.

Various. 2022. Travel Concertos. Ensemble Diderot, Johannes Pramsohler. Compact Disc. Audax Records. ADX 11204.

Organist Tom Wilkinson has recorded the six Trio Sonatas, BWV 525-530 by J S Bach on the organ of the Reid Concert Hall at the University of Edinburgh. These Sonatas are unusual in that Bach took the format of the trio sonata, with its three individual lines, and transplanted that onto the organ. Of course, it is not unusual for there to be three ‘voices’ in organ music - the right hand, the left hand and the feet on the pedals - but the degree to which Bach made these three voices independent and used them almost as separate instruments is very different, even from the rest of his own organ compositions. The organ used here has a beautifully soft sound, and Wilkinson selects carefully the stops used for each movement (these are all listed in the notes for organ specialists) to give variety of timbre. So for example, there is a bright, bell-like sound in the right hand for the Allegro of Sonata No. 1, which dances along, contrasting with the lyrical darkness of the Adagio which precedes it. The Adagio of Sonata No. 3 has a gentle, reedy quality, contrasting with the walking bass and intertwining top lines, then rapid articulation of the outer movements. That bright, ringing right hand features again in the Allegro of Sonata No. 5, and there’s a moody, tremulous sound to Sonata No. 6’s Lente. Overall, this is a very pleasing disc, and for a non-organ fan, Wilkinson’s effortless and even articulation of the complex three-part lines really brings out Bach’s daring use of the Trio Sonata form.

Bach, J. S. 2022. Trio Sonatas, BWV 525-530. Tom Wilkinson. Compact Disc. First Hand Records. FHR138.

The Tippett Quartet have added to the 150th celebrations of Vaughan Williams’ (1872-1958) birth with a strong recording of his two String Quartets, alongside Gustav Holst’s (1874-1934) Phantasy on British Folk Songs, Op. 36. Vaughan Williams’ String Quartet No. 1 was composed in 1909, after his time studying with Ravel in Paris, but he didn’t publish the work until after the First World War, in 1922. The influence of Ravel can certainly be heard in the opening movement, in its slithering chromatic lines and shifting harmonies. The second movement has more elements of folk-like melody, but that sense of fluid tonality is still present. The unsettling 5 beat metre of the Romance is striking, undermining the seemingly calm melodic lines and more straightforward harmonies. Following its subdued ending, the Finale bounces along with energetic propulsion, although there are glassy textures, contemplative reminiscence and an angular fugue before the final showy race to the finish, with rushing scales down through all four instruments. The String Quartet No. 2 was composed during the Second World War, in 1942-43, and was dedicated to violist Jean Stewart, and the viola features heavily throughout. Lydia Lowndes-Northcott on viola here sets the tone for an expressive reading of the work. The viola sets off in the opening movement, which is full of nervous energy, before the bleakly stark (coldly, and with no vibrato, as written, from the Tippett players here) opening to the Romance. The first warmth comes from the viola, and the violins’ pentatonic meanderings are reminiscent of The Lark Ascending, whilst the richly surging chords recall the Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis. The viola is again to the fore in the nervy, darkly shimmering Scherzo, as well as starting off the contrasting mood of the finale, full of meandering serenity and calm. Holst’s Phantasy was written in 1916, and performed the following year, but he withdrew the work, and it was only following his death that his daughter Imogen published a version for string orchestra. The version for string quartet used on this recording was edited by Roderick Swanston.   It begins with another viola solo, with ethereal violins joining in pentatonic mode, before the first violin leads off with a sprightlier version over meandering accompaniment. The viola then takes over again with a jauntily swinging melody over a drone. Gradually the complexity of the textures builds, with weighty octaves and spread chords, before the intensity falls away at the end. The Tippett Quartet’s performances here are exemplary, but it is the String Quartet No. 1 that sets this recording alight with energy and variety of expression.

Various. 2022. Ralph Vaughan Williams String Quartets 1& 2, Gustav Holst Phantasy Quartet Op. 36 (ed. Swanston). Tippett Quartet. Compact Disc. SOMM Recordings SOMMCD 0656.

Finally, two discs from Convivium, with Christmas in mind. The Silver Swan is a disc of songs by two lesser known contemporaneous English composers, Eric Thiman (1900-1975) and Michael Head (1900-1976), Emily Gray (mezzo-soprano) and Nicole Johnson (piano) do a great service in bringing their songs to our attention. Both composers taught at the Royal Academy of Music, as well as having extensive careers as examiners and adjudicators at festivals. There are a few Christmas works from both composers, including Head's more well-known Little Road to Bethlehem, and an effectively simple setting of In the Bleak Midwinter from Thiman. Amongst the other songs on offer here, highlights from Head include the nostalgic Sweet Chance, and the passionate Nocturne, Johnson particularly impressive with its challenging piano part. From Thiman, The Silver Swan setting is strong, as are Sleeping and Song of Farewell, both full of lyrical expression and subtlety of setting. Gray’s command of the range required here is impressive, and her pure light tone can be contrasted with power at the extremes of the register when required. 

Moving into unashamed Christmas territory, the Celestia Singers and Celestia Brass, conducted by David Ogden, with Rebecca Taylor on piano, have recorded Christmas Tidings, an album of choral pieces by Brian Knowles (b.1946). Knowles spent many years as touring musical director for Roger Whittaker, but many of the works stem from his time as teacher and composer in residence at The Royal School, Haslemere. Some of the 'swingier' numbers are less to my taste, but would be effective in a school setting, and they are performed with gusto by the singers and brass players. The more contemplative works here work better for me, such as the gentle setting of I Sing Of A Maiden, and Twelfth Night. Soprano Lucy Hughers also deserves mention for her touching solo in The Promise. The jollier numbers move more into John Rutter territory – so it depends whether you are a fan of that Christmas style or not. The performances here cannot be faulted, and the recorded sound is clear and warm throughout.

Various. 2022. The Silver Swan: Songs by Eric Thiman & Michael Head. Emily Gray, Nicole Johnson. Compact Disc. Convivium Records. CR075.

Knowles, B. 2022. Christmas Tidings. Celestia Singers, Celestia Brass, Rebecca Taylor, David Ogden. Compact Disc. Convivium Records. CR077.


Thursday, 17 November 2022

Albéric Magnard steals the show in all-French recital at Wigmore Hall

   Adam Walker (flute)
   Nicholas Daniel (oboe)
   Matthew Hunt (clarinet)
   Amy Harman (bassoon)

7.30pm, Tuesday 15 November, 2022

Wigmore Hall, London

Claude Debussy (1863-1918): Syrinx
                                                 Première rhapsodie

Pierre Sancan (1916-2008): Sonatine for flute and piano

Francis Poulenc (1899-1963): Trio for oboe, bassoon and piano

Albéric Magnard (1865-1914): Quintet for piano and winds, Op. 8

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet
'A beautifully ethereal rendition of Debussy's Syrinx ... performed off stage with warm-toned delicacy by Adam Walker'.

'Bavouzet delivered a warmth of tone, matched by depth and richness from Hunt'.

'Bavouzet clearly enjoyed Walker's prowess in the cadenza, as well as visibly getting into the rhythmic energy for the gallop that followed'.

'Harman and Daniel gloriously blended .... Bavouzet was a lively presence, alert to the wind players' every moves, and clearly enjoying himself throughout'.

'Walker's playfulness was matched by raucous humour from Hunt, but Bavouzet and Daniel had the most fun here, with Bavouzet's rocking cross-rhythms fighting against Daniel's twisting, eastern-infused melodic line to Bavouzet's obvious delight'.

'Five exceptional musicians, clearly enjoying every minute of their music-making as much as the audience'.

Read my full review on Bachtrack here.

Jean Efflam-Bavouzwet and the Orsino Ensemble
© Ian Farrell